Monday, September 30, 2013

What We Read in Preschool [2}

Last week we talked about the letter Nn, learned about Nocturnal animals, explored with noodles, made necklaces and had a ton of fun.  We also read some pretty fun books.

Nocturnal Animals - Was a book I made off of a PowerPoint that I found on the Internet.  It was great and we read it at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week.  It included animals that are nocturnal and some info on them.  The kids liked the real life animals and spent extra time looking at it as it was in our Discovery Area all week.

The Eeensy Weensy Spider by Mary Ann Hoberman. 

Description: This singsong poem extends Eensy-Weensy's story beyond the drain pipe and through a spring day of adventures.

This is a really cute book that expands on the popular poem.  And of course you have to have an eensy weensy voice. ;)  We also teach them our other version of the poem with our hand movements that are eensy weensy.  We also do a great big spider version and our song person can pick whatever version they want for the day if they want to sing Itsy Bitsy.

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Description: Stellaluna is the tender story of a lost young bat who finally finds her way safely home to her mother and friends. This award-winning book by Janell Cannon has sold over 500,000 copies and was on the bestseller list for more than two years.

This is such a cute story and kinda long but this group loved the tale of Stellaluna and we were even able to talk about differences between birds and bats. 

National Geographic Reader: Bats by Elizabeth Carney 

Description: They live in spooky caves, in forests, even in the dark reaches of ordinary attics and bridges. They flock by the hundreds, and they sleep while hanging upside down! In this beautifully photographed Level 2 reader, kids learn about one of the most interesting creatures around—and discover the bat’s unique place in the wild and in the world. The high-interest topic, expertly written text, and bonus learning activity lay the groundwork for a successful and rewarding reading experience

This is also kind of a long book but we just read headings that interested our kids.  They also really liked this book and they learned about differences in bats.

Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young

Description: "It's a pillar," says one. "It's a fan," says another. One by one, the seven blind mice investigate the strange Something by the pond. And one by one, they come back with a different theory. It's only when the seventh mouse goes out-and explores the whole Something-that the mice see the whole truth. Based on a classic Indian tale, Ed Young's beautifully rendered version is a treasure to enjoy again and again.

I really liked this one.  It has a lot that you can do with it.  There are colors and it uses first, second, third and so on.  They are also going over an object and each one uses their own descriptive words to describe what they think it is.  I had the kids guess what they thought the object was going to be and their guesses were quite entertaining.  I dismissed the kids in order of the colors in the book, it was interesting to see who remembered the order they appeared in the book. 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

Description: The 26 characters in this rhythmic, rhyming baby book are a lowercase alphabet with attitude. "A told b, and b told c, 'I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree'"--which probably seemed like a good idea until the other 23 members of the gang decided to follow suit. Lois Ehlert's chunky block illustrations show the luxuriant green palm standing straight and tall on the first page, but it begins to groan and bend under its alphabetical burden. First the coconuts fall off, then ("Chicka chicka... BOOM! BOOM!") all the letters also end up in a big heap underneath. A very simple board-book version stops there, but this original text goes on to introduce the helping hands of the 26 uppercase "mamas and papas and uncles and aunts."

Classic favorite.  Love that so many of them already knew it and even those who didn't could read along with me towards the end.  Then we used a chicka chicka boom boom rhythm to transition into large group time later in the day.  We always have this book in our library along with a felt book and the kids have been 'reading' it ever since. 

What children's books have you recently read? Any favorites about animals that you can recall from your childhood?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Looking For Me - Discussion

Thank you sooo much to Lisa for putting together this post this month! September is always a crazy month at work for me!
Having read and loved the book “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt,” the debut novel by Beth Hoffman, I was so nervous that her second book would be disappointing.  I am not sure what others thought, but that was definitely not the case for me.  There is just something special about Hoffman’s voice.  I know this sounds cheesy, but reading books by her is the equivalent of a warm cup of coffee – her words are soothing and flow so well.

I loved that this book was set mostly in Charleston.  I live driving distance from there and have plans to visit in January and reading this book makes me even more excited to check it out.  It sounds like such a charming southern city. 

Now for the questions…

  1. Teddi follows her dream to work with furniture despite her mother's lack of support, and she works hard to make her vision a reality. Do you have a similar passion or drive?  Would you pursue that passion if it wasn’t something your parents supported?

  1. On page 197, Teddi's grandmother says, "Sometimes it's not what we hold onto that shapes our lives but what we let go of." How does this apply to Teddi? To your own life?

  1. The novel is filled with colorful characters. Besides Teddi, who was your favorite and why?

  1. Hoffman writes that the difficulty of returning home is that "a piece of us stays behind when we leave-a piece we can never reclaim, one that awaits our next visit and demands that we remember" (page12). Do you agree?

  1. In the hospital, Teddi nearly tells her mother that she loves her but decides against it. Why? If she had, how do you think her mother would have reacted?

  1. Looking beyond the events of the novel, do you imagine that Teddi and Josh will be reunited?
Thanks again Lisa! I hope you all join us in October!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

October Group Read Pick! determined that Life Sentences by Laura Lippman would be our October Group Read!

Description: Author Cassandra Fallows has achieved remarkable success by baring her life on the page. Her two widely popular memoirs continue to sell briskly, acclaimed for their brutal, unexpurgated candor about friends, family, lovers—and herself. But now, after a singularly unsuccessful stab at fiction, Cassandra believes she may have found the story that will enable her triumphant return to nonfiction.

When Cassandra was a girl, growing up in a racially diverse middle-class neighborhood in Baltimore, her best friends were all black: elegant, privileged Donna; sharp, shrewd Tisha; wild and worldly Fatima. A fifth girl orbited their world—a shy, quiet, unobtrusive child named Calliope Jenkins—who, years later, would be accused of killing her infant son. Yet the boy's body was never found and Calliope's unrelenting silence on the subject forced a judge to jail her for contempt. For seven years, Calliope refused to speak and the court was finally forced to let her go. Cassandra believes this still unsolved real-life mystery, largely unknown outside Baltimore, could be her next bestseller.

But her homecoming and latest journey into the past will not be welcomed by everyone, especially by her former friends, who are unimpressed with Cassandra's success—and are insistent on their own version of their shared history. And by delving too deeply into Calliope's dark secrets, Cassandra may inadvertently unearth a few of her own—forcing her to reexamine the memories she holds most precious, as the stark light of truth illuminates a mother's pain, a father's betrayal . . . and what really transpired on a terrible day that changed not only a family but an entire country.

I love Lippman's Tess Monaghan series and I've read 2 of her standalones so far.  Hoping this one doesn't disappoint!

Our discussion will be on Friday, October 25th! Hope you will join us!

Have you read any Laura Lippman books before?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's the last book you flung across the room?

The next question in the 15 part blog series wants to know what is the last book I've flung across the room.

Hmm... I've gotten pretty bad at putting down books even when they stink.  I just can't let the unknown get to me ha.  But sadly, I did not finish The End of Your Life Book Club.  I meant too, and I didn't even really dislike it.  But I was reading it in a very busy time in my life and I was always exhausted and it just wasn't catching me.

 I also picked up The Horsemaster's Daughter which is a total romance novel that I found in my basement one day while my daughter was playing and I haven't budged on that in a very long time.  But I have what I call my downstairs books and I don't ever bring it upstairs.  Only when I have spare moments down there.  So that one probably won't ever be finished either.

Now a book I've read ALL the way through and WANTED to fling across the room was The Wednesday Daughter's.  I was soo sooo soo sadly disappointed by that book.  It had such potential.

What is the last book you've flung across the room?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lowcountry Bombshell

I was given the opportunity to review Lowcountry Bombshell by Susan Boyer from TLC book tours and I'm glad I did.  I don't normally skip a first book in a series, but it sounded funny and light hearted and I couldn't say no.  I mean it's not like I haven't been in a South Carolina reading frenzy and murder and mayhem when it's not about the good ole lowcountry!

Description: Private Investigator Liz Talbot thinks she’s seen another ghost when she meets Calista McQueen. She’s the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe. Born precisely fifty years after the ill-fated star, Calista’s life has eerily mirrored the late starlet’s—and she fears the looming anniversary of Marilyn’s death will also be hers.

Before Liz can open a case file, Calista’s life coach is executed. Suspicious characters swarm around Calista like mosquitoes on a sultry lowcountry evening: her certifiable mother, a fake aunt, her control-freak psychoanalyst, a private yoga instructor, her peculiar housekeeper, and an obsessed ex-husband. Liz digs in to find a motive for murder, but she’s besieged with distractions. Her ex has marriage and babies on his mind. Her too-sexy partner engages in a campaign of repeat seduction. Mamma needs help with Daddy’s devotion to bad habits. And a gang of wild hogs is running loose on Stella Maris.

With the heat index approaching triple digits, Liz races to uncover a diabolical murder plot in time to save not only Calista’s life, but also her own.

I'll be honest it was a slow start for me but after about page 40ish it picked up.  And it honestly could have just been the fact that I was exhausted while starting it but I really dove in on Friday night and hurried to finish it up once I got going with it. 

Loved the characters.  Loved the mystery.  Will totally check out Lowcountry Boil (the first in the Liz Talbot series) when I get a chance.  It's also has some very interesting information on Marilyn Monroe and I really liked it because I had read a book loosely based on her before that was sprinkled with rumor and truth and it seemed just like Calista's life. ;) So that was a fun visit back to Marilyn's life which I find fascinating. 

I mean it's a bit cheesey but a good kind of cheese.  And if you aren't huge into murder mystery this is a good one for you.  Not scenes that will keep you checking under the bed at night.  But it may convince you to visit South Carolina and it may make you a bit hungry.  All the food talk had me craving seafood!  Oh and the sex scenes were pretty great too. ;)

If you enjoy Stephanie Plum books give this series a try!

Is there a part of the country you seem to keep reading about? Do you know a lot about Marilyn Monroe?

As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own... book was provided.. ;)

Friday, September 20, 2013

What We Read in Preschool This Week {1}

I am going to try to share the many books we read each week in preschool.  This may or may not be a major fail. ;)

Kissing Hand - Audrey Penn

School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. Since its first publication in 1993, this heartwarming book has become a children's classic that has touched the lives of millions of children and their parents, especially at times of separation, whether starting school, entering daycare, or going to camp. It is widely used by kindergarten teachers on the first day of school. Stickers at the back will help children and their parents keep their Kissing Hand alive.

I always read this on our Parent Child days and on our first day of school.  That way parents hear about the kissing hand and students do too.  And it ties nicely into a beginning year study of nocturnal animals.  Kids love it.  And there are TONS of activities to do with it.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star - Jane Cabrera

A favorite lullaby becomes a celebration of love in this lushly illustrated version featuring animals from all over the world.

This book has excellent illustrations.  I also have this book on CD and my kids listened to it before rest time and during clean up time and I read it aloud to them.

All By Myself - Mercer Meyer

All the many things a young child can do independently are demonstrated, (tying shoes, riding bike, kicking ball), but there is one thing one cannot do alone.

I love sharing this at the beginning of the year too.  It helps remind kids of all the things they can do themselves and we all share something and then I include in my first newsletter things they can do by themselves to remind their parents. ;)

Llama Llama Misses Mama - Anna Dewdney

Strange new teacher.
Strange new toys.
Lots of kids and lots of noise!

What would Llama like to do?
Llama Llama feels so new . . .

It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool! And Llama Llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready. They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it’s time for Mama to leave. And suddenly Llama Llama isn’t so excited anymore. Will Mama Llama come back?

Of course she will. But before she does, the other children show Llama Llama how much fun school can be!

This book is cute and has great rhymes.  Most kids have read it before and a few can easily fill in the blank with the rhymes.  Love it.

Chester the Brave - Audrey Penn

Little Chester Raccoon, the beloved character who has helped so many children with issues in their lives, learns the meaning of bravery and a method for overcoming his fears in this new Audrey Penn title. After sharing the story of a little bird who is afraid to have flying lessons in front of his friends, Mrs. Raccoon tells Chester that being brave doesn’t mean being unafraid; being brave means not letting that fear stop him. Mrs. Raccoon teaches Chester an important strategy: Think-Tell-Do. When he thinks he is afraid, he tells himself he can do it, and then he just does it. Of course, getting a Kissing Hand helps a little too. This simple strategy can be helpful to children in many different situations.

This one is a bit wordy for a read aloud for preschoolers but my kids loved it because it had Chester in it!

Please Say Please - Margery Cuyler

Penguin is having a party, and his nine adorable animal guests have their manners all mixed up. From one silly incident to another, the guests learn where to put your napkin (not on your head!), how to sip your milk (don't spray it!), and when to tell a joke (NOT when your mouth is full!). Proper Penguin's patience is tried, but by the time his guests say good-bye, they have even learned to say, "Thank you!"

Cute book to talk about manners.  I liked asking them, "is this correct? is this right?" And having them brainstorm the appropriate behavior.  This led to us using this same language in the classroom in different situations about manners.

Pete the Cat: Rocking In My School Shoes - Eric Litwin

Pete the Cat is back—and this time he’s rocking in his school shoes. Pete discovers the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. And no matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song . . . because it’s all good.

They all loved this one.  I introduced it to our 3's teacher last year and so a lot of my kids already knew it and they were rocking out.  I played the book on CD for them.

Raccoon Tune - Nancy E. Shaw

A family of mischievous raccoons rifles through sleeping people’s trash in search of treats.

June night,
Just-right-for-raccoon night—
Not too dark,
Not too bright,
As we look for treats."

And look, indeed, they do! A precocious family of raccoons prowls around the neighborhood, making a ruckus until they find a supper that’s truly “delish.”

This rollicking night outing, in lively verse and action-filled pictures, is sure to make the young reader laugh out loud.

Love the rhymes in this one! Perfect to go along with our Chester books and our Nocturnal Animal Study.

I read at least two books a day and on two of our days this week I even read a Scholastic Magazine.  One was about caring for things at school and one was about school rules.

What children's books did you read this week?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

October Group Read Suggestions

That time of month! What shall we read in October? Any fall favorites? Something that makes you want to sip a hot pumpkin spice and curl up on the couch?

Here is what we have read so far...

Looking for Me
Ladder of Years
Where'd You Go Bernadette?
Beach Music
The Dinner
The End of Your Life Book Club
Still Alice 
The Song Remains the Same
Those Who Save Us
We Are All Welcome Here
Gone Girl
Prisoner of Tehran
The Wednesday Sisters
Looking for Alaska
Cutting for Stone
One Summer
The Year of Fog
Winter Garden
The Violets of March
State of Wonder
The Invisible Bridge
The Postmistress
The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Still Missing
The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
In the Woods
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

I hope you can join us again this month! Crazy how long we've managed to keep this up.  I love reading and discussing with you all! I will keep suggestions open until the 23rd and then I will use to pick our book.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blog friends

The third prompt in the 15 day blog series was, "Who are your blogging BFFS?"

Since this is supposed to be kind of a book centered focus I figured I'd share who I like discussing books with and what book blogs I always make sure to check out.  I'm making my own rules. ;)

Lisa - I love that we've been discussing books for YEARS and that she always joins up with the blogger group read every month.  I really appreciate her opinion and like to hear her suggestions.

Kelly -I also always value Kelly's opinions on books to read.  We seem to like the same series/type of books and I'm always wondering if there are new ones to check out!

Jenny - She reads a lot of YA books and that is a topic that I'm trying to read more and more of.  I value her opinion and trust her reviews to help expand my YA reading.

Marie - I do believe hers was the first book blog I've followed.  We don't tend to read the same types of books but I do like her well-written reviews and find many books that I add to my TBR list that I hadn't heard of before.

There are a few other sites I check out randomly but these are ones I never miss!

What blogs do you get book recommendations from?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Insta Month [ 2 ]

Here are some Insta snapshots of our last month..

helping dad make blueberry muffins


so much fun on the hammock (that she hated until near the end of july)

I went to see Kenny Chesney and Eric Church :swoon:::

<3 bed="" before="" books="" p="">

A Sunday ride on the boat... love summer!
cuz that's how we roll.

can't go anywhere without her bffs...

<3 p="">
What a great end of summer!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Looking Forward

All summer I thought about playing along with Lisa when she did these posts sporadically or even last spring who knows how long actually, but never could come up with a lot of stuff until now. ;P  I just couldn't think of anything exciting or my life was really boring, anywho, the start of fall has me quite busy and excited with possibilities.

What I'm looking forward to...

Today - The first official full day with all of my students.  I've met them all and had half come Wednesday and half come Thursday for half-days, but today is go time.  The first time my assistant and I have done all day preschool.  So exciting, so exhausting, soooo just ahhhh..

This week - Trying out a new pasta recipe.  It seems super simple but it's something I pulled out of a magazine so many years ago and never tried.  But it fit into my current requirements.  SUPER FAST and contains things we all like.  Hopefully it won't be a bust, like last Friday's homemade pizza my husband made. Ick. 

This month - Book club.  We didn't meet last month and I miss my girls night out! Plus we are discussing a book I read last year and I hope they all loved it as much as I did!

This fall - Studying apples with my students and making applesauce.  Picking apples in our backyard with my family and making applesauce and apple crisp at home.  Going to the pumpkin patch with the fam and possibly going trick or treating.  My child currently wants to be a ghost like Clifford but I'm afraid she won't actually put something on her head.  Oh and football.  I love football.  Basically weekends are busy from here until February. ;)

This year - Going on spring break with friends and family! So excited about this.  I love planning out adventures! Road trip here we come!

What are you looking forward to?

Thursday, September 12, 2013


The second prompt in the 15 day book blogging series is about what your bedtime reading ritual consists of.  I don't always read before bed because if it's a great book or a thriller I sometimes can't stop and I end up staying up all night.  But, in general I try to go to bed 30 to 45 minutes before I plan on sleeping and turn on my light (which my husband claims is faaaaar too bright) and read curled up in bed.  If I don't go into my bed I lay on the couch.  I need to be laying down and comfy for my before bed reading.  Sadly, I do not have a ritual or something that I always do.

Now for the two year old? We never used to have any rituals but now we have gotten into a three books, three songs and bedtime routine or we'd be up reading books all night.  Sometimes I have to read all three and then so does her dad and sometimes she alternates between us or we only have to do reread two or one of the three. 

Do you have a bedtime reading ritual?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Beyond Reach

Whoa, I did not plan on a week long break from reading, but work was crazy and then my computer died and I just got it back up and running! Not cool, not cool.  So, when I said I was going to catch up on a weeks of blog posts from others on Sunday? Yeah, more like this Sunday I will be reading 2 weeks worth! ;)


Description: In a stifling hospital room in a small Georgia town, Detective Lena Adams sits, silent and angry—the only suspect in a horrific murder. Soon, a hundred miles away, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver will get the call that his young detective has been arrested. And Jeffrey’s wife, pediatrician and medical examiner Sara Linton, has troubles of her own and little patience for Lena or her dramas. Fighting a heartbreaking malpractice suit, Sara cannot guess that within days she herself will be at the center of a bizarre and murderous case. 
For Lena has fled back to the place where she grew up hard, careening back through the shadows of her past and into a shocking underground world of bigotry and rage. And now only Jeffrey and Sara can free Lena from the web of lies and brutality that has trapped her—as this powerhouse of a novel races toward its shattering climax…and a final, unforgettable twist.

Okay, so in my very last post I posted about how I was mad at Lena and how I could foresee what was going to happen because I had kinda sorta read a spoiler.  Well, MY thought on what was going to happen didn't happen but the main outcome did, and in the end I'm STILL mad at Lena.

So, in typical stubborn stupid form she realizes her uncle is back to using and wants to save the day by figuring out who his dealer is and drags herself and old friends into a meth ring full of white supremacists.  Of COURSE Jeffrey has to help her and it's just crazy and dangerous and Sara refuses to leave Jeffrey and go home away from the danger. 

I really really liked this book.  Not happy with the outcome, but I'm not surprised and it's a GREAT edge of your seat book.  If you are into thrillers/mysteries you should RUN and check out Slaughter's Grant County series!

How would you judge the cover of this book?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I loved this book by Karin Slaughter.  I'd have finished it sooner but that darn thing called work got in my way! ;)

Sara and Jeffrey are out walking when they stumble upon a girl who was buried alive.  Investigating her murder they stumble upon a very religious family who owns a farm and has a few peculiar members.  Lena has drama with Ethan and her old boyfriend pops into town which causes more drama.  There is a lot of focus on wife beating and seriously, I wanted to punch some of these guys. 

It was super fast paced and I liked how one of the characters totally was giving clues to the police that could have been deciphered in wanting to help but not wanting to tattle on someone but that was never cleared up except towards the end I could tell that character knew nothing but it was interesting because things he said helped lead the police to the right answers.  I'm being vague as to not totally tell you who did it. ;)

I will say that the end made me very very very angry at Lena.  I get that she was being abused and in a hard place but the way she chooses to get Ethan out of her life IS A HORRIBLE IDEA.  I just can already guess what is going to happen in the next book between that ending and perhaps reading the cover of another book.  Oh well, but SERIOUSLY, don't mess with my characters lady. ;)

I hope everyone is having a great week.  I'm so busy with back to work stuff and then heading out for the weekend with my dad so I may not even get to read blog posts until Sunday.  I do apologize if you think I'm ignoring you. ;)

Do you think that people can change?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Confessions

I am stealing this idea from Boston Bibliophile who stole it from the person who made it. ;) I will do these every now and then, not every single day in a row. ;)  What is this idea? It is a 15 day blogging challenge with book related topics. The first topic is 15 book confessions..

- I always have a book or two or three with me.

- When I went to my parents a few weeks ago I brought three books and three magazines.  And I have a toddler.  Um I read 1 1/2 books and one magazine. But I need choices.

- I judge books by the cover.

- I used to be able to read books in a series out of order and now I cannot.  So I spend far too much time tracking down the correct book.

- When I get hooked on one author I tend to read everything they read quickly and get sad when I have nothing left.

- I usually check out like 10 or more books from the library and then have to renew half if not more if it is the school year to get through them.  And will stop again at the library throughout the month and check out more.

- I feel like books are real life in a parallel world. 

- Before we had kids I made my husband promise to read books to our daughter and lie and say he loves to read. 

- I was sad I didn't win a prize in the adult library's reading program this summer.

- I will stay home to finish a good book.

- I used to read Nora Roberts and Luanne Rice books in high school and now any books of that type annoy the every loving crap out of me.

- People who don't give the Harry Potter series a chance annoy me.  I didn't think I would like it either and bam, love it.  Especially if you are a teacher you need to read it.

- People who 'dont' have time for reading.  Um you have time.  You are choosing to use it on something else.  10 minutes before bed, 20 minutes here or there.  You can and should find time to keep your brain thinking, imagining and dreaming.

- I won't censor my daughter's reading.  I think she should read what she wants and learn about the world from her reading and it won't help her to forbid her from certain topics/authors because I may not agree with their viewpoints.  But I will always be reading to discuss anything.

- I think teachers and parents turn kids off from reading because they don't approve of their reading choices because it's not 'age appropriate'/'challengeing' etc. and that is a damn shame.

What are your book confessions? Do you hate a certain genre? Do you judge by the cover? By the author?